WHAP Chapter 12 Notes - Chapter 12 Reunification and...

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Chapter 12 Reunification and Renaissance in Chinese Civilization: The Era of the Tang and Song Dynasties Manufacturing silk was a laborious process that involved several steps. Here a woman and a girl are at work on a roll of embroidered cloth. Textile weaving, sewing, and finishing were often done in the house in family workshops. In this way, women and young girls were income-earning members of the family. The postclassical period saw a vital consolidation of Chinese civilization. Although less fundamental changes occurred in China than those forcibly imposed on the civilizations of the Americas or experience in eastern and western Europe, Chinese civilization developed in import new ways. Some of these innovations, especially the technological ones, soon affected the wider world. Attention to postclassical China means returning o one of the core civilization areas of Asia and to the network of relationships that had been developing for millennia among societies from the Iberia in the west to Japan in the east. China also established its own orbit of influence in eastern Asia through ongoing exchanges with Japan, Korea, Vietnamese and other parts of southeast Asia. More isolated than the Islamic world and India, China nevertheless contributed vitally to other areas as it flourished under two vigorous dynasties, the Tang and Song, in the postclassical era. In the era of political division and civil strife after the breakdown of the Han dynasty in the late 2 nd century C.E., most of the advances of the Qin-Han era (221 B.C.E to 220 C.E) appeared to have been lost. Writer in the Era of Division that followed (220-589 C.E.) feared that the basis for maintaining civilization in China had been swept away by a new series of nomadic invasions and the seemingly endless wars fought by the regional kingdoms that vied for the imperial throne of the fallen Han. The bureaucratic apparatus of the empire collapsed, although many of the successor states aspired to Qin-Han ideal of state centralization. In most kingdoms the position of the scholar-gentry declined sharply as landed families with aristocratic pretensions dominated regional rulers. The reemergence of bickering and self-serving aristocratic elites reminded the scholars who recorded China’s history of the chaos and suffering of the Warring Stares period before the rise of the Qin. In the centuries after the fall of the Han, non-Chinese nomads ruled much of China and a foreign religion, Buddhism eclipsed Confucian teachings as the prime force in Chinese political and cultural life. The Great Wall was divided between kingdoms and usually poorly defended as nomadic peoples raided and conquered across the north China plain. Trade and city life declined technology stagnated and with mainly Buddhist exceptions, thought degenerated into the quest for magical cures and immortality.
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Given the magnitude of these reverses and the fact that Chinese civilization was battered for nearly four centuries, its revival at the very end of the 6th century
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WHAP Chapter 12 Notes - Chapter 12 Reunification and...

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